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  • Writer's pictureVeronica Speiser

Research Round-up July 2023

Global Broadband Subscriptions in Q1 23; UK TV and Broadband Services Research Q2 22 – Q2 23; UK telecoms sector updates; ISP news; government and Ofcom updates


Point Topic’s key publication of the month:


Global Broadband Subscriptions in Q1 2023: Fibre Glides Past Two Thirds


Key findings

As of Q1 2023, the global fixed broadband connections reached 1.377 billion, reflecting a growth rate of 1.59% compared to Q4 2022. We recorded a decline in fixed broadband subscriptions in 18 countries[1]which mainly include emerging markets, as well as some saturated markets such as Singapore. However, while there were fluctuations in growth rates across regions and markets, the overall trend indicates a steady expansion of global broadband connectivity.

  • Among global regions, Africa, East Asia and America Other saw the fastest growth in broadband connections (2.9%, 2.2% and 1.8%), not least due to healthy increases in broadband subscribers in the vast markets of Egypt, Brazil and China.

  • The share of FTTH/B in the total fixed broadband subscriptions continued to increase and stood at 66.7%. Broadband connections based on other technologies saw their market shares shrink further, with an exception of satellite and wireless (mainly FWA).

  • VDSL subscriber numbers grew in ten countries, while they dropped in at least 22 markets as consumers migrated to FTTH/B.

  • The highest FTTH/B broadband subscriber growth rates in Q1 2023 were in Algeria, Peru and UK.

Global Fixed Broadband Subscribers on the Rise

Global fixed broadband subscribers have been growing steadily over the past several quarters. During Q1 2023, their number increased by 1.59%, reaching 1.377 billion, which suggests a sustained demand for broadband connectivity worldwide (Figure 1 and Table 1). At 21.6 million, the quarterly net adds were close to the figure we recorded a year ago, though the growth rate (1.59%) was slower, compared to 1.77% in Q1 2022, with global inflation and economic instability having an impact.



Table 1. Global broadband subscribers and quarterly growth rates. Source – Point Topic.
Table 1. Global broadband subscribers and quarterly growth rates. Source – Point Topic.

Between Q1 2022 and Q1 2023, the global landscape of broadband technologies witnessed significant shifts. The number of copper lines experienced further decline of 9.6%, while FTTH/B connections saw growth of 11.2% (Figure 2), as consumers continued to show preference for more advanced options and transition away from older and slower technologies. Cable broadband exhibited modest growth at 0.5%, maintaining relevance in certain markets.


Satellite broadband also saw a modest growth of 1.3% while wireless broadband demonstrated continued relevance with a respectable growth rate of 4.9%. These trends can be attributed to the demand for connectivity in remote or underserved areas where traditional broadband infrastructure is not feasible.


Read the complete article in our free analysis here.


Point Topic's UK TV and Broadband Services Research Q2 22 – Q2 23


Introduction

Since March 2022, Point Topic has commissioned YouGov to conduct surveys on the take-up of bundles TV services, fibre to the home/premises (FTTH/P) access amongst subscribers, the impact of TV/streaming services on consumer decision-making, take-up of broadband packages by tier speeds, ISP market shares, ISP churn rates, along with consumers' propensities to change ISPs for bespoke bundled TV and broadband services. This market research provides insight into the UK consumer's pay-TV and broadband consumption and preferences in the context of an increasingly competitive full fibre network provider sector with a wealth of online video and TV content offerings readily available.


Point Topic has created each survey question set with uniformity in mind, however, given the nature of the marketplace, questions have been altered on a quarterly basis accordingly. When referring to FTTH/P statistics in this report the results have been filtered to those respondents who have indicated they are subscribing to a full fibre broadband connection.


Major players dominating full fibre subscriptions, uptake to faster speed packages on the rise, and bundled broadband and TV packages growing in popularity


  • Fluctuations in market shares among different FTTP providers from Q4 22 to Q2 23 demonstrate that consumers are finally getting to grips with full fibre terminology, although care should be taken as Virgin Media O2's (VMO2's) network is predominately DOCSIS 3.1 technology and covers around 16.3m premises with its FTTP network footprint covering around 3.3m premises (Figure 1).

  • BT and Virgin Media experienced overall increases in market share and both closed off Q2 23 with a 22% and 30.5% market share respectively; Sky (20%), TalkTalk (7%), Plusnet (3%), EE (4%), and others had mixed results with slight fluctuations. Vodafone showed a significant increase in market share coming in at 8.7% and the proportion of respondents who don't know or can't recall their provider decreased over time.

Figure 1: FTTP connectivity (as perceived by consumers), by ISP - Q4 22, Q1 23, Q2 23
Figure 1: FTTP connectivity (as perceived by consumers), by ISP - Q4 22, Q1 23, Q2 23

Figure 2: percentage of broadband speed tiers FTTP vs. non-FTTP, Q4 22 and Q2 23
Figure 2: percentage of broadband speed tiers FTTP vs. non-FTTP, Q4 22 and Q2 23

We asked Q4 22 and Q2 23 survey respondents which broadband speed tiers they were subscribed to and then analysed the results by FTTP and non-FTTP subscribers (Figure 2).

  • For FTTP subscribers packages offering downlink speeds of 101 Mbps or higher were the popular choice with 38% of respondents in Q4 22 taking this speed tier compared to 36% in Q2 23.

  • For both quarters there was near parity for both FTTP and non-FTTP subscribers on a 25 - 100 Mbps service; in Q4 22 33% were FTTP connections and 31% were non-FTTP, and in Q2 23 both types of connectivity subscriptions were equal at 35%.

  • The percentage of respondents with a TV/video bundle shows an increasing trend over the quarters, starting at 35% in Q2 2022 and rising to 43% in Q2 2023. This 8% increase y-o-y shows that despite the ongoing cost of living crisis, consumers are opting for curated TV/video and broadband packages.

  • Conversely, the percentage of respondents without a bundle shows a decreasing trend over the quarters, starting at 55% in Q2 2022 and declining to 50% in Q2 2023 (Figure 3).

Read our full free analysis piece here or contact info@point-topic.com for more information about our PayTV data services.



BDUK Project Gigabit Update

On 3 July, BDUK announced that it had awarded CityFibre Phase 1b’s Lot 2 Suffolk, Lot 7 Norfolk, and Lot 27 Hampshire contracts. The five year contract which is backed by £320m in government funding with CityFibre adding £170m in private investment to the projects. Construction in the locations are due to commence in January 2024 and aims to cover around 218k rural premises across the three counties.


On 31 July, BDUK announced the commencement of the procurement phase for the award of their first Cross-Regional Supplier Framework (Type C) contract, which could see a single network operator being picked to help cover some of the most hardest to reach rural areas.


Other key telecoms sector news items from the month can be found below.

BT Group News

Virgin Media O2 (VMO2) News

CityFibre News

Independent Operators (AltNets) News

Other News

If you are a subscriber to UK Plus, sign-in here to access our UK Plus content where you can view our updated Q2 2023 profiles of the UK’s leading internet service providers, as well as our annual overview of the country’s broadband market.

Please get in touch if you would like to find out more about UK Plus or these particular publications.

[1]It is possible there will be restatements in the coming quarter/s and single period data should be viewed in that light.

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